Charlie Bertsch

Charlie Bertsch has been music editor of Zeek and Tikkun. He was also a longtime contributor to Punk Planet and was one of the founders of the pioneering electronic publication, Bad Subjects: Political Education For Everyday Life.

Arts and Culture

Production History: Zoos of Berlin's Labor of Love

Zoos of Berlin’s new album finds a silver lining in the dark skies of Detroit’s precipitous industrial decline, turning a former auto parts facility into a staging ground for polished, eclectic pop. With nods to Motown, garage rock and electronica, this self-released record is a stirring aural palimpsest that testifies to the maturation of do-it-yourself culture.

Arts and Culture

Skipping A Beat: The Coen Brothers' A Serious Man

What do you do when all the truths you took for granted turn out to be lies? Larry Gopnick, the protagonist of A Serious Man, the Coen Brothers’ latest film, falls through the looking glass into an alternate reality far scarier than Alice’s famous Wonderland. Too old to be turned on by the first flowerings of the Summer of Love and too young to remember a Jewish identity not shadowed by the Holocaust, he struggles to find his bearings in a disenchanted world suddenly reanimated by the promise of hidden meaning.

Arts and Culture

Days of Future Past: Iranian Garage Rock of the 1960s

Like many locales that are retroactively said to have had garage rock scenes, Iran was not a country where many people actually had garages. It still isn’t. To imagine young Iranians hammering out tunes in a subdivision of three-bedroom homes with two-car garages is to indulge a fantasy that is simultaneously economic and political. We are drawn to the vision of an Iranian garage scene in the 1960s precisely because we perceive it as a future past. And we are drawn to Raks Raks Raks because it gives us hope that it is not a future past redemption.

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